Ryan v. York Condominium Corporation No. 340 2016 CarswellOnt 5630
This case examined the timelines a condominium may be afforded to conduct maintenance and repairs to its common elements.
Facts: The Condominium was a 701 unit high-rise complex in Toronto, built in 1977. Soon after its construction, its roof and building envelope allowed water into upper floor residential units. Years of temporary fixes followed, without success. Later, in 1980, Ryan purchased his unit, and was plagued with water damage. In 2011, water damage and mould made the unit uninhabitable. Ryan continued to maintain his financial obligations to the unit and the Condominium, while residing a significant distance away and struggling with life threatening health problems.
Aware of these deficiencies, in 2010, the Condominium instituted a series of attempted repairs, largely constrained by the significant cost of remediation being over $2 million dollars, funds the Condominium could not readily access without financing. Eventually, in the fall of 2014, after a series of various repairs, water entry was no longer reported in Ryan’s unit.
Once completed, Ryan commenced a lawsuit, seeking a series of claims categorized, being
a. the costs of maintaining his unit while uninhabitable;
b. mental distress, and;
c. a declaration that the Condominium’s conduct was oppressive.
Ruling: The Court readily found that the Condominium had not addressed its maintenance and repair obligations in a timely manner. Being aware of a leaky roof for thirty years without a solution, the Court held was not reasonable. The Court furthered that the four plus years Ryan’s unit was uninhabitable was also too long. The Court restated the principle that condominiums shall be judged on a spectrum of considerations to determine if repairs are conducted in a reasonable timeframe. Even on a scale of four years, the Condominium was held to have breached a timely repair. The unit owner was awarded $69, 691.39, ostensibly for the loss of the unit for four years and repair costs.
The Court, however, did not award damages for mental distress. The Unit Owner failed to bring evidence in this regard. The Court also considered at length the oppression remedy, often relied upon when a party’s conduct is prejudicial, coercive, harsh or abusive to another. Again, the Court dismissed this claim, citing that although the Condominium was ineffective, it was not abusive.
Bottom Line: Although the courts may afford patience and deference to a condominium’s repair efforts, such limits are not infinite. Although condominiums should act with prudence and reasonableness, water entry cannot be approached on a wait and see approach, as finances or remedies become apparent over time.
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